Friday, May 05, 2006

A walk in the park

I went for a walk in Villa Torlonia this afternoon. It had been under construction for quite some time and they recently finished the restoration and reopened to the public. A wealthy banking family by the name of Torlonia owned the property in the 19th century. Later it was home to Mussolini in the twenties and then it became a public park in 1978. And I found out today that beneath the park there are Jewish catacombs (dating back to the 3rd and 4th centuries AD) in which Mussolini used to build a bomb shelter.
But what's so interesting about this park (to me anyhow) is all the builings are built in completely different styles (for example one looks like a Swiss or German fairy tale house) and the park hosts a Temple of Saturn, a theater and a lake, a greenhouse, false ruins (ha ha couldn't figure that one out), a secret cave and of course two Egyptian-like obelisks. Unfortunately I only took three really stupid pictures of the bamboo forest before my camera batteries died (I don't know why but I was so enthralled by these towering stalks of bamboo and they looked so exotic and other-worldly at the time but now they just look stupid).

And hey, I'll throw in a classic obelisk that I found from another website just for a little variety.

But if you are so inclined you can find out more here. If you are ever in Rome you should check it out. It is really pretty and there are loads of soccer players, runners, children playing, elderly couples snuggling on the benches, and the token guitar player singing mellow ballads as the sun shines.


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